The California estate and probate administration process can be a complicated legal matter in some instances. There can be the justifiable reason while the probate of a particular estate is taking what might seem a considerable period of time. However, there are also instances in which an estate is not settled in a reasonable period of time as the result of some type of negligence or even misconduct on the part of an executor or personal administrator.
Fiduciary duty of an executor of an estate
Pursuant to California probate and estate administration laws, the executor is the individual designated to oversee the affair of an estate. A person in this role has what is known as a fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is to always serve the best interests of an estate and its beneficiaries during the probate process.
Reasons for a failure to settle an estate in a reasonably prompt period of time
A variety of reasons can exist for an executor’s failure to settle an estate’s affairs in an appropriate period of time. These include such problems like inattention or mismanagement by an executor. In other words, an executor is negligent in the conduct of his or her responsibilities to the estate.
A delay in the settling of an estate can also be the result of nefarious conduct by an executor. Examples of this level of misconduct include inappropriate self-dealing with estate or misusing its assets. The situation may also involve an executor attempting to deprive beneficiaries of what they are lawfully entitled.
If a beneficiary of an estate believes an executor is not performing appropriately, the court in which the estate is being probated should be notified. The presiding judge will intervene and conduct a hearing and take other action as necessary to address the matter.